For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eland (Taurotragus oryx)

Eland (Taurotragus oryx)  Family Bovidae
These are the largest of all African antelope the males standing about 1.7m at the shoulders and can weigh about 700kg.

Their name is borrowed from the Dutch word for elk.

At birth the horn buds are visible in both sexes and grow rapidly up to about 7 months of age thereafter slowing down.
 The hair on the body is short with a longer tuft of dark brown on the forehead, which is matted and has a strong smell due to a secretion from a glandular region in the skin at its base.

Eland are equally at home in semi-desert to forest edge or grassland areas.

Although they will drink water where available, in desert areas they obtain moisture from food like Tsamma melons which they eat in season.
 They are found in small groups and not large herds as with most smaller antelope species but in some regions, due to habitat constrains, herds of up to 600 have been seen.

In some regions, Eland will migrate for food but in general, will stay within a specific area.

Cows can be quite savage in repelling strange calves, whipping them with the sides of their horns.
 During the summer month, Eland will feed at night.

In spite of their size, they are good jumpers and have been known to clear a 2m high fence with ease.

Like Elk, Eland were breed in Russia and soon became tame enough to milk. Their milk is very high in fat and highly nutritious.
 They mostly feed on shrubs and tree leaves, flowers and seed pods although will eat flowers and wild fruit using their horns to pull down higher branches.

Eland breed throughout the year and after a gestation period of about 270 days, a single calf is born weighing about 35kg.